Bilberry (1995, 1997) - diabetic retinopathy

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Researchers found that bilberry extracts could improve vision sharpness and help faster adaption to changing light conditions. European physicians already recommend bilberry extracts for other eye complaints such as retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetic retinopathy.

One study assessed the effectiveness of a bilberry extract (anthocyanosides) in animals finding that vascular permeability is decreased. This means that blood barrier permeability is normalized.

Published" "Topic: Bilberry Fruit," The Lawrence Review of Natural Products, October 1995, Pages 1-2.

Other research found that lipoic acid may be helpful in blood flow to nerve tissue in the eyes, fighting free radicals, and improving functioning of the nerves in patients with diabetic neuropathy. In one study 328 type II diabetes patients with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy were treated with intravenous introduction of lipoic acid or a placebo for three weeks. Improvements in symptoms were noted. In another study, type II diabetic patients also having cardiac autonomic neuropathy received a daily oral dose of 800 mg lipoic acid or a placebo for four months. Again, symptoms were improved in those taking the lipoic acid.

Published: Ziegler D; Gries FA. Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic peripheral and cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Diabetes, 1997 Sep, 46 Suppl 2:, S62-63-61